ORANGEBURG, S.C. – On Monday, August 2, South Carolina State University’s Religious Life Council hosted its first pastoral breakfast at the Kirkland W. Green Student Center. Members of the council and guests got a chance to introduce themselves, engage in fellowship and congratulate the program on its accomplishments.
“We try to get all religions from surrounding areas because we want to provide students with a variety of churches they can attend,” said Linda Davis-Huggins, SC State director for Community Outreach and Religious Life Programs. “We want to offer that to them and give them an avenue so they can matriculate through those churches. We have so many churches in Orangeburg that the students don’t know about.,”
“I want to have a connection between the religious groups, the community and the students. That’s, my main goal.”
Members of the Religious Life Council
Davis-Huggins said she wants students to become more comfortable reaching out to the members of the Religious Life council whenever they need guidance or want to be connected to a church where they can grow.
The Religious Life Council consists of representatives from each of the recognized student religious organizations and the religious workers appointed by each faith community. Together, they seek to create an environment that cultivates students’ spiritual development through programs and activities provided by local faith-based communities. They also offer insights on various religious and spiritual communities.
The council’s mission is to have an active presence on campus that promotes and encourages the study and practice of religious values.
“Long before our alumni started scholarships and trying to bridge the gap, we know that it was the faith-based ministries and churches across this county and state that helped our students matriculate through SC State,” Acting President Alexander Conyers said. “We must strengthen our religious activities, we must give our students options, and we must allow them some place where they can go to have a word with each other and have a mentor.”
Members of the council are not only passionate about giving spiritual guidance, but they are also committed to community outreach and making sure students on campus have the toiletries and resources they need.
“I support the students with bible study here and I support the students by giving them toiletries and whatever they need. I’m always on campus with Linda (Davis-Huggins) trying to find out what the students need,” said Rev. Shirley Gordon, campus minister for both SC State and neighboring Claflin University.
Gordon also is executive Director for The Wesley Foundation, alternatively known as the WOO, which is a United Methodist ministry that welcomes people of all faiths and backgrounds. Located across the street from the university, the WOO works with the campus community to support students at SC State and Claflin.
SC State Board of Trustees Chairman Rodney Jenkins and Acting President Alexander Conyers eats breakfast with the council.
“A breakfast like this allows every ministry in the community to know that we’re all in this together. Our ministry is ecumenical. It’s, not denomination- driven, so students from all walks of life can come together and get paired with a church or ministry of their choosing,” Gordon said.